Kalmah
Swampsong


4.5
superb

Review

by GenuineImitation USER (3 Reviews)
May 30th, 2006 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


Even though I have been a member of musicianforums before the creation of sputnik music reviews, I have yet to write a review. That all changed when I saw that one of my favorite albums was not reviewed yet. I hope this is satisfactory and any recommendations for future reviews would be much appreciated.

Klamah is:
Pekka Kokko –Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Antti Kokko – Lead Guitar
Janne Kusmin – Drums
Timo Lehtinen – Bass
Marco Sneck - Keyboards

Kalmah – Swampsong


Heroes to Us: This song starts with one of my favorite riffs of all time. After listening to this song only once, the guitar intro was forever engraved in my brain. Once the intro is over, the song is set into over drive. The vocals on this album are great (I prefer the vocals on “The Black Waltz", but they are still superb.) and that point is driven home by the vocals on this song. While the chorus is relatively simple (chants of “heros to us"), it is catchy and powerful. At 3:00, the guitars switch to a more melodic role. This is just a build up to a solo that begins at 3:19. The solo isn’t the greatest, but I think it fits this song well and is fun to listen to. The song end on a very powerful note and will leave you wanting more. You may want to hit the skip button to listen to it again. I don’t recommend this yet because this album is full of other gems that are just as good, if not better.

(5 / 5)

Burbots Revenge: “Burbots Revenge" wastes no time getting started. A simple, yet cool drum fill starts things off and is immediately followed by a decent guitar riff. It’s good, but not of the same caliber as “Heroes to Us". At 0:31 the vocals kick in. The vocals are fine, but I don’t enjoy them as much as other songs on the album. There are solos from both the guitar and piano in this song; however, I don’t feel they are given enough time. The solos are a little on the short side, but they still manage to kick ass. “Burbots Revenge" is one of those songs that remain in your face through out its duration. It never gets old and it never fails entertain.

(4 / 5)

Cloned Insanity: Immediately after “Burbots Revenge" ends, “Cloned Insanity" begins. This song has a powerful intro that portrays the greatness that is “Cloned Insanity" and Swampsong . The guitars slow down a bit around 0:40, but don’t fret, the song gets even faster when the vocals kick in. This is my favorite vocal performance on the album and it is chock full of great guitar riffs and leads. At 2:21 the only instruments playing are the bass and drums. This unfortunately is the only time the bass is really audible on the record. They are quickly joined by a mini guitar and piano duel. Then possibly the best solo on the record is thrown at you. It’s short, but effective and what makes it great is that it immediately goes into very cool harmony afterwards before picking up again. “Cloned Insanity" ends just as it began and that is proving that Kalmah are a force to be reckoned with.

(5 / 5)

The Third, The Magical: The Third, The Magical opens with the soothing sound of the keyboards. This changes though when the rest of the band joins in. When the rest of the band is going full charge ahead, the keyboards are playing a harmony that gives the song another dimension. It really adds to the vibe in a positive way. During the vocals, the guitar and keyboards are playing leads. The decision to do this instead of your standard chords gives the song more depth and feeling. Once again, we are treated to an excellent vocal performance. At 2:30, there is a new element thrown into the mix. The element I speak of is an orchestral and symphonic influence. While it doesn’t last long, it can raise the hairs on you neck. This is immediately followed by the keyboards and guitars harmonizing and then a guitar solo. The solo has more soul then it does shred. The same goes for the keyboard solo. The song closes the orchestral and symphonic part that makes this song so unique.

( 4.5 / 5)

Bird of Ill Omen: “Bird of Ill Omen" begins a relatively simple guitar lick. While not as catchy as “Heroes to Us", it is a decent opener. The vocals are amazing on this track; however I cant the same for the guitar, drums, bass and keyboard. They aren’t bad, but they just seem a tad bland when compared to the other songs on Swampsong . The guitar solo is a tasteful solo, but not one of Antti Kokko’s best works. I personally think the song is good, but lacks something.

( 3/5)

Doubtful About It All: I thoroughly enjoy the keyboard and guitar work on this track. The vocals are great also, but not as great as a few other songs. This song is fast paced and can leave you in the dust if you let it. It does allow you some time to catch your breath about half way through the song, but then it goes back to what Kalmah does best; play loud, fast, powerful and brutal metal. The guitar solo mixes all I love about Kokko’s ability. Like most of the solos on the album it is short, but its length doesn’t limit it. I think the shortness is what makes it so powerful. All in all, this is great track.


(4 / 5)

Tordah: The simple rhythmic guitars in the beginning can only mean one thing. As you may have guessed, it can only mean that “Tordah" is a great song. The riff that follows is just as catchy as “Heroes to Us" and “Cloned Insanity". Trust me on this, it will be stuck in you head for days. And unlike many songs with catchy parts, this is a good thing. The vocals are brutal, dark and fast paced and I enjoy it when you can hear a chant every so often in the backround. The solo begins at a snails pace, but then kicks into overdrive with a absolutely amazing shred fest. The remaining 45 seconds are in your face and is a perfect build up to the next song.

( 5 / 5)

Man With Mystery: The song starts like a bat out of hell (pardon the cliché) and it leaves off where “Tordah" began. The intensity comes to a halt about 2 minutes in and the guitars become very rhythmic and harmony orientated. The guitar solo is another great example that Kokko can compete with the likes of Liahio and Petrucci. “Man With Mystery" has plenty of tempo changes (especially the middle and end) that will leave you guessing at what can possibly come next. As the song slowly fades away, one cannot help but say “wow".

( 4.5 / 5)

Moon of My Nights: This was the first Kalmah song I listened to and it got me hooked. It truly is a masterpiece. “Moon of My Nights" begins with a simple piano arrangement that gives the song a very dark vibe. When the guitar join in, one cannot help think of the Gothenburg Metal pioneers At the Gates. It is only the piano accompanying the vocals during the verse at first, but when the guitar joins in, this is one powerful song. Everything is perfect about this song. The vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards and drums are all works of art. I feel this song demonstrates the bands talent with its frequent tempo changes and vocal / musical arrangements. As the song slowly fades out, you cannot help but think what a great song to close the album. It truly is an epic master piece.

( 5 / 5)



I believe this is one of those albums that metal fans will call a classic years from now. There isn’t a weak track on the album and it is highly enjoyable to listen to. It’s a great album to get if you are unfamiliar with Kalmah and is great to own if you are a fan of metal. It is very unfortunate and disappointing that Kalmah doesn’t get the recognition they deserve.


Pros:
- Amazing musicianship
- Songs like Cloned Insanity, Moon of my Nights and Heroes to Us will become instant favorites.
- The length of the album is good. Its long enough to leave you satisfied, but keeps you wanting more. This is a great motivator for digging deeper in the discography.
- Vocals are amazing

Cons:
- Bass is hard to pick out.
- Guitar and Keyboard solos are a little too short for my taste.



I give the album a 4.5 out of 5.


user ratings (369)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Kyle Ward STAFF (4.5)
Welcome To Swamp Metal....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Stormrider
May 30th 2006


55 Comments


Nice review, man.

I should check out Kalmah. I have yet to hear their stuff. I'll check out Moon of my Nights.

The Blind Leader
May 30th 2006


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I started listening to Kalmah like 2 weeks ago and i was amazed. They have more of a melodic style then COB but can still get in your face great band. All songs are good, my favorite albumn of theres is "they will return."

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
May 31st 2006


3771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is an amazing album, the only weak track here if there was one, is Burbot's Revenge, but even then I liked it.

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

Apocalypticon
May 31st 2006


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing album, one of my favourites of all time. Kalmah are so awesome and this album is a perfect example of why. I completely agree with you on almost everything except I wouldn't have rated Moon of my Nights so high. Very good review.

Silenius
May 31st 2006


305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heroes to Us! m/


Good review.

superpeer
May 31st 2006


257 Comments


I only know Heroes to us, it's pretty good.

I'm not really into song by song reviews anymore, but it was fairly well written. So good work.This Message Edited On 05.31.06

Get some of those typos out of there, though.This Message Edited On 05.31.06

Zak_262
June 2nd 2006


24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review this is a really good album cloned insanity is one of kalmahs best. The black waltz is better tho

The Blind Leader
June 9th 2006


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I never got into The black waltz because theres just better out there.

The Blind Leader
June 9th 2006


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I never got into The black waltz because theres just better out there.

Brain Dead
October 4th 2006


1150 Comments


Heroes To Us is such an amazing song.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2006


16434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed, that song is amazing. I love this album, it has some memorable riffs and the vocals I like a lot.

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

freudianslipknot
December 31st 2006


803 Comments


Helpful review. I have just bought this. Checked out Heroes to us and Moon of my nights immediately. Great songs. You're right I wanted to play heroes to us again straight away.

south_of_heaven 11
January 4th 2007


5436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First 8 songs completley own...the last one kinda sucks hard.

Ceminon
January 18th 2007


15 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Kalmah is one of the very, very few bands with grunts that I like. They've got some really cool lead riffs.

TheHamburgerman
March 13th 2007


1297 Comments


Heh, personally I can't stand the grunts, it doesn't feel neseccery; not as an instrument. I don't really like this band, which is quite sad, because they are melodic death metal, and I don't like to hate melodic death metal bands.

Eakflanderyof
March 13th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^^ They aren't really that original, but I think they write some really cool riffs. It's also just standard black metal vocals really.

SynGates
March 13th 2007


2467 Comments


I actually think they are really original, but their vocals are really just standard black metal vocals as you said. I wouldn't really call it grunting though.

TheHamburgerman
March 14th 2007


1297 Comments


I don't get the same feeling as when I listen to the vocals of Naglfar, Dissection, 1349, Dimmu Borgir, Burzum or any other black metal band I listen to. The vocals are just very bad executed.

Their riffs are very cliché, but unlike Insomnium, another rather cliché band, Kalmah doesn't progress further in the music, it all stays on one level. The only songs I care for on this CD are The Third The Magical and Moon Of My Nights.

What this guy performs are indeed no grunts, my mistake. On his last album, he did however perform grunts. this is screaming.

Yazz_Flute
May 6th 2007


18808 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just downloaded "CLoned Insanity" off myspace

holy shit it's aweomse, i'm so pissed that my music store and itunes doesnt have kalmah.

But lucky for me, my confirmation is soon, so i'll probably get tons of money, then i'll just get kalmah and norther from amazon =D

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

Crimson
July 22nd 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this album, but It's not a classic, very solid though.

Moon of my Nights is such an amazing song.



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